Public meeting possible on G5 closure

Stephen Morgan. Picture: Loughlan Campbell

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A PUBLIC debate could take place about the controversial closure of the G5 ward at Portsmouth's superhospital.

Bosses at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, said they would consider a public meeting to discuss why the end-of-life care ward was replaced with a new mobile nurse team.

It came after Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust was pushed for a debate during a meeting between campaigners and senior hospital officials at QA.

Initially the hospital trust refused to hold a meeting but said it would consider it if it was chaired by an independent chair person.

Julie Dawes, the director of nursing, said during the meeting: 'Let us take that away and we will have further discussions about it.'

Hospital officials said they would come back with an answer by next week.

Will Purvis, from the Save G5 Campaign Group who was at the meeting at QA, said: 'I'm 100 per cent certain they will find an excuse not to have a meeting but I'm going to keep pushing for it.

'They said that they wanted to wait until after the review initially but this is the perfect time to hold a meeting.

'Surely if they want to state their case and are confident the new model of care is better, now is the time to tell the public that before people give their views to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel.' Meanwhile hospital representatives told campaigners that the new mobile nurse team was running well.

But campaigners at Monday night's meeting were shocked to hear details of the new service - including how there were seven nurses but only one nurse on duty at any time, and how the team was not available from between 11pm and 8am.

Gill Gould, head of nursing for older people, stroke and rehabilitation, said that overnight wards were calmer and less busy.

She added: 'What the team do is provide additional support to nurses who are already providing end-of-life care. Staff were looking after patients who were dying on other wards even when G5 was open.' But Mr Purvis said: 'I do not believe that one nurse giving advice to other nurses, is anywhere near as good as the service on G5.

'This is a much bigger change than we even knew had taken place.'

The hospital trust is now looking to roll out the mobile nurse team to the emergency department and the medical assessment unit by next month.

An inquiry into the decision to replace G5 is being carried out by the Independent Reconfiguration Pane, which advises ministers. To have your say email or call 0207 045 4844.